The Sound of Your Voice Tells Employers How Intelligent You Are

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By Chris Pash

The latest research has found your voice could be your biggest asset when you go for a job interview.

Looking smart in power business wear and having a stellar CV all help, but the sound of your voice tells people how intelligent your are.

The study found that employers and recruiters rate candidates as more competent, thoughtful, and intelligent when they hear the pitch rather than when they read it - even when the words used are exactly the same. They liked the candidate more and were more interested in hiring them.

However, the addition of video did not influence evaluations beyond hearing the candidate's voice.

"In addition to communicating the contents of one's mind, like specific thoughts and beliefs, a person's speech conveys their fundamental capacity to think - the capacity for reasoning, thoughtfulness and intellect," says Professor Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The study, "The Sound of Intellect: Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate's Appeal," is published in The Journal of Psychological Science.

In a series of experiments, the researchers asked a group of Chicago Booth MBA student job candidates to develop a short pitch to the company for which they would most like to work. They created written pitches and recorded spoken pitches.

The evaluators who heard the pitch subsequently rated the candidate as more intelligent, thoughtful, and competent than the evaluators who only read a transcript of the pitch.

Professional recruiters are also more likely to hire candidates whose pitches they could hear than those whose they could only read.

"When conveying intelligence, it's important for one's voice to be heard - literally," Epley says.
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